The Professional Artist Series Returns to Children First Leadership Academy

Free Arts partnered with Children’s First Leadership Academy beginning in 2010 with the goal of bringing our resilience-building arts programming to their students. This May marked another successful season of our Professional Artist Series there! Students of all ages got to learn from a Free Arts professional teaching artist and build relationships with their volunteer mentors over the course of six weeks.

Kindergarten through second grade got to spend their mornings doing yoga and creating drawing pieces with Lizzy, learning how to stand tall like trees, greet the sun, and practice mindfulness with candle breaths. Meanwhile, third and fourth grade took on Taiko drumming with sensei Eileen. They learned the proper stance, how the Japanese people used this instrument in their culture, and how to hold the bachi (drumsticks). Fifth and sixth grade got to learn how to DJ with DJ Dimension, who taught them all about transitions, beats, and a bit about the history of how DJ culture began. Seventh and eighth graders learned about the djimbe, the shekere, and the djun djun, and used those instruments to learn beats originating from West Africa and the Caribbean. Despite only meeting once a week for six weeks, the CFLA students were quick learners, and brought the knowledge and work they had accumulated to a culminating assembly on May 17th in their auditorium.

Each grade got to perform their finished work in front of an audience of parents, classmates, Free Arts volunteers, staff, and teaching artists. Fox10 even came to see the younger grades show off their new skills! They worked hard over the course of the series, and it was time to celebrate. After their performances, students got to make cards for someone they care about using markers, stickers, and more. The older students even got to carve their own foam stamps to use on their cards. Free Arts is grateful to all who had a role in making this series happen, but particularly to the staff at CFLA, as well as our volunteer mentors and teaching artists. Thank you!

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